Researchers administered PTB antisense oligonucleotide treatment directly to the midbrain of mice. In the mouse models exposed to the treatment, a small subset of astrocytes converted to neurons, increasing the number of neurons by 30%. Three months after treatment, mice were completely free of Parkinson's disease symptoms and remained in remission for the rest of their lives.
Some coronavirus patients exhibit clinical and neurochemical signs of brain injury associated with the viral infection. COVID-19 patients who required ventilation had increased plasma NfL levels. The higher NfL concentration levels were linked to the severity of infection.
Astrocytes harbor HIV and spread the virus to CD4+ T cells that traffic the virus out of the brain and into other organs. HIV moves via this route, even when the virus is suppressed with cART.
Reducing neuroinflammation in the brain before cognitive impairment becomes apparent can help slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease.
Glioma brain tumors alter the function of astrocytes, possibly contributing to seizures many brain cancer patients experience. Astrocytes encasing gliomas exhibit different molecular signatures based on their proximity to the cancer cells. Those directly touching the cancer cells become elongated and swollen, mimicking the astrocyte's response to other epilepsy-related brain injuries.
Astrocytes are not uniform, as previously believed, but take distinct molecular forms depending on their location in the cerebral cortex. Astrocytes also organize in layers in similar ways to neurons.
Following a meal, astrocytes associated with POMC neurons in the hypothalamus alter their shape. After eating, glucose levels increase temporarily. Astrocytes detect the signal and react within one hour, causing POMC neurons to activate and promote the feeling of satiety.